Business Support Systems: The Stake


This blog post is a semi-continuation of the Money tree series posted in late July.

Please make reference to that post if you are to get a full picture of what I am discussing today.

There are certain business systems that are efficient in production and output, but they in their very nature face some serious challenges in standing on their own.

When starting up business, it is usually expected that a certain level  of reinvestment or recapitalization of the business will be necessary. It is critical to realize that sudden changes, or the natural progression of the business will require you to invest time, physical and financial resources into the business.

This may be due to the fact that, the business may expand much faster than what was expected, requiring a growth in the capital requirements of the business than what was originally foretasted.

The advantage of such things is that once a business is operational, there is a bit more substance to it and obtaining financing through external investment becomes much easier than when a plan is just on paper.

I have personally felt this pinch with one or two excellent plans that have been well researched but requiring a certain level of start up financing. Especially when you are  a new venturer and everyone else is looking through your portfolio seeking your prior achievements before they can surrender their finances into your hands.

But once a business is operating, even at a small scale, it bears testimony to what it is capable of, and income cases, through due diligence and cash reinvestment, minding cash flow management there is a very high chance that the business may even be able to recapitalize itself.

It may do this even through the acquired goodwill, that increase its value over and above the actual physical and financial asset value it has in its portfolio.

An example of a business system that may require extensive levels of recapitalisation that may take even decades to recover but will definitely be worth it is mining. Substantial amounts of assets have to be bought before production can commence. In cases such as oil rigging, billions may be invested at regular intervals even as the business itself is generating a sizable cash inflow.

However, care has to be taken that recapitalization does not become a perpetual occurrence. A good system is one that ensures that there comes a point when the business reaches maturity, and becomes stable enough to stand on its own and even provide a support base for other expansion plans of businesses in the portfolio of the owners.

Investment in other people’s businesses is also useful because as my mentor always says, “I am not  the smartest person in the world.”

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Business Implementation: Dormant seeds (Part 2)


Some business plans are excellent, but due to various factors, it might not be practical to implement some of them at certain times. Factors affecting this may include, the financial or physical disposition in terms of the originator’s time and resources.

One person once said that “the worst thing that can happen to a person is for him to become successful before he is ready”. It is not the actual resources that determine whether a person will succeed in any given venture or not, because resources in nature are temporal in that whatever is in this earth will pass away.

If you take this into account, then it is easy to realize that conditions or micro climates as those in a greenhouse scenario can be created in order to suit the needs of your business.

The successful implementation of a business model depends on the drive that the initiator of the model has. In the bible there is a king that was asked to thrash the floor with an arrow, instead of thrashing the floor several times signifying  the assault on his enemies, he did it only thrice and as a result he realized a victory that was way below the capacity that God had intended upon his life.

The same thing applies to the successful implementation of business models in our lives. We are all equipped with knowledge in certain unique, and sometimes not so unique areas of business, but it is important to note that we each have our own unique way of doing sometimes even the same things.

That is why in life some people realize more successes than others. It is the degree to which you implement the plans that are sown into you that determines whether you will succeed or not.

Usually, timing is useful but it does not constitute the total success or failure of the venture.

However, some models are heavily dependent on certain laws and circumstances for example the money market in Zimbabwe in the late 2008 period was a total disaster with investment in it at that time virtually impossible.

Fund investors reliant haevily in this sector were badly impacted, but this was a temporal scenario, with the introduction of multicurrency trading in Zimbabwe leading to an improvement in the trading conditions.

The Root (Part 3): Support System


The most essential thing that you have to understand about one of the most essential parts of a plant, “the root” is to understand that it has the massive backing of the plant.

In business, you have to realise that you need to take care of your business in order for it to take care of you. If you are to reap any fruits from the investment input into your business you have to ensure that its internal clockwork and functions are at their optimal point.

Some plants can easily be reproduced by making cuttings from the parent plant. The new plant/cutting, continues to survive for a short while without some of the most essential elements as the roots and leaves.

It would not be a wise thing for a plant to assume that it can continue to operate in such a way for a long time.

There comes a point in the new plant’s “reasoning” that the plant realises that it has been separated from its source of nutrition and the time has come to develop an independant system.

If the plant fails to produce the necessary organs such as the leaves and roots because it thinks it is still alive, it will suddenly wake up one day and the internal storage would have been exhausted subsequently leading to its wilting and death.

If you neglect the most essential drivers of your business as it reaches its maturity, it may suddenly whilt and die on you. And you wonder what happened.

The business would have been operating very well for the last 12-15 months and because the systems in place appear to be operating very well. There is need to continualy review the systems in place and assess the functions, viability and overall feasibility going forward.

There is a need to continually review each and every function to make sure that it is well catered for and is able to perform its function to the best of its capability.

Some things that were efficient whilst you were serving five or ten clients may no longer be as feasible when there are now 25 to thirty clients.

New equipment may need to be purchased, vehicles acquired, software upgraded, buildings upgraded and refurbished. There are so many intricate details depending on the type of business that you have to look out for as you progress in business.

The bible says “do not restrict the horse that treads the corn.” There are certain “perks” that are derived from working in certain industries, at times these appear to be irrelevant to the operations of the business.

However they offer a certain level of satisfaction and quality of life to the employee.
These need to be regulated in order to ensure that the company suffers minimal loss from these activities but gains in improved perfomance from the employee. They can be used as moral boosters and perfomance enhancers ensuring that the core objectives of the business are achieved.

They say a hungry man is an angry man, this is obvious in many day to day business activities in a lot of our companies. We have seen industries being brought to their knees because the employees have been neglected.

The key unit of any business are its employees and if they are mistreated or given a package that is below the standard that a normal being can operate under, then the business owner is simply sitting on a ticking time bomb.

It is only a matter of time before the employee bomb explodes on it.
I am continually amazed at employers who choose to neglect and abuse their employees through poor pay packages as compared to the actual business net revenue and poor working conditions.

Whilst a dollar here and there is saved in the short run by employing strategies that disadvantage the employee, an employer should be wary because watering down the wine is a dangerous strategy.

Shortcuts in business are the quickest way to failure.

A strong, secure, solid employee root base ensures that the business system is founded on a solid rock.

The Root: A Lesson of Persistance – Part 1


There is no need to be a failure as a success.

Plants and their nature never cease to amaze me. You will find them literally everywhere, given half a chance a place that previously seemed to be totally desolate can reveal so much hidden potential.

This should be the same drive by which you need to follow through with your dream. Go ahead and dream big even amidst the most challenging of situations. A certain young man once worked for me as a general hand. He was unfortunate enough not to have completed his secondary education, and I told him he had potential to get ahead in his life through making use of his hands.

For a moment he stared at his hands and could not even believe what he heard me say to him. He just shook his head in disbelief, and replied, “with these hands… I dont think so.” In his mindset, because of his perceived disadvantage of not having gone further with his education, he saw himself as forever banished to being a “failure as a success.”

In his eyes, there was no way he could not ever become any more than what he was. “They have eyes, but they do not see.” He could not even see what he was already doing with his own hands that was already bettering his life. He had already made an active decision to do something with his life but he could not even see what he already had.

Many times, we look at our life, the end picture…. and immediately are blown away by the magnitude of the dreams that we have or the destiny that may be. We often fail to see what resources we already have, some of which we may already be using that have the potential to take us to even greater heights.

The limits to which we may reach simply depend on how much we allow our minds to stretch and wonder and discover the secrets that life has in store for us.

However, it does not always come easy. Bumps and roadblocks are something that can never be totally guarded against, but you just have to hang in there, think postively and allow some unexpected solutions to some of the challenges you may face.

There are very few entirely new concepts, businesses and methodologies that you may come across. Somewhere, somehow, somebody out there has faced the same or similar challenge as the one that you may be facing.

The “six degree” theory, states that we are all seperated by six people in our networks to everybody else in the world. However, subjective that theory may be, it just goes to show just how well connected and intergrated we all are.

So imagine how many solutions and experiences are available for our education from the very people we socialise with on a day to day basis. The key is to know which combination of people is the right one. In the face, of challenges, you can safely take comfort that there is a solution out there for you to get, all you have to do is rich in and reach out to get it.

Plants just dont seem to know when to give up, I especially admire weeds, they are particularly persistant and will grow out of any crack or crevice that they can fit into. They are a constant menace to farmers and gardeners anywhere.

As such successful people are those that are a constant menace to their destiny.

Learn from spoilt children, dont give up until you get what you desire. Jacob refused to let go of God until dawn broke and God was forced to bless him. It was not that God failed to escape, but the blessing was so massive, that he had to make sure that the recepient, Jacon, would really appreciate what he got and not take it lightly. Only then could he become, ISRAEL.

The hollow in his joint an everlasting reminder of the night God visited him with a blessing that would last the ages and be remembered for all time.

So as I sign off I leave you with a question, “what opportunity are you being prepared for by the challenges you think you are facing?”, because it might not be a challenge, but a lesson embedded for the purpose of increased valuation.

Relationships, Risk and Investment


If there is anything that I have ever learnt from farming is that risk is inevitable. There is no one fullproof method of investment or doing business that will give you a 100% success rate in the long or short run depending.

A farmer has to put a seed in the ground and at every stage of development there is a risk that there will be failure. At seed stage there is risk that the seed may fail to germinate, hence farmers sometimes plant seeds in pairs.

Not every seed will germinate in all the cases, but the farmer is not daunted by the failure of a single seed to germinate. Likewise in business, everything you put into it, is an investment.

Actually, in life everything we do is an investment, either we are investing in ourselves through education, in business through financial investment, in others through building relationships via communication, physical, verbal or mental.

We are always investing at every point, and in each investment that we make, you have to realise that there is a certain degree of risk that is involved. When investing in education, for example; computer programming, because it may be the “in” thing at the time a new software may just be developed that renders your vocation completely obsolete. So what used to be the big deal, suddenly isn’t so big anymore and suddenly the invested years become wasted years.

People invest in relationships all the time, human beings are gregorious beings. There is a need for co-dependancy, nobody exists in an island and personally, I feel that relationships are the biggest investment anybody can ever make. Relationships are the cement that hold the bricks of legacy together.

Relationships are the true essence of life, your relationship with God, your peers, your mentors, your wife/husband, your children and relatives, your business network and your casual acquintances.

These all vary in their degree of complexity and the level of feeding that has to be done in order to ensure that they survive. In gardening, there are certain plants that you can afford to leave for days or even weeks at times without watering and they still remain fit and healthy, but the moment you over do it by watering them daily they WILL die.

And then there are others that if you even miss a single day, all your investment in that plant is flushed down the agricultural drain.

In relationships the same thing applies, imagine giving the same amount of attention you give to your spouse, to… say, your boss or a person on one of your business networks. That would be highly inappropriate and inadverntly be disastrous.

Each relationship you have has to be monitored according to its own merits, but the important thing is to monitor it and give it the attention that is due to it.

Most people are very happy to invest in relationships and often do it without trying, its like breathing to them.

And with the advent of social networks like facebook, myspace, twitter etc keeping up to date with your business, social and spiritual networks has just become a little bit meshed together.

A close friend, a strict parent, a spouse, an employer and acquintances have been brought together at the click of a button away.

This has allowed for the creation or breakdown of relationships at the click of a button, but we will not go into that for now.

After spending so much time building relationships and investing on a daily basis, you would think that people would be readily open to financial investment.

Lecturer after lecturer,after teacher, after doctor, after professor may come preaching the gospel of being fruitfull through investment, I mean even Jesus taught of it for example in the parable of the talents, but when it comes to actual investment people are always hesitant or, “just dont have the time” to learn how.

If I ever learnt anything I learnt that a journey starts with a single step. It may not be a giant leap, but even a shy, small span step is still counted a step.